After playing Hamlet for a period of some weeks, a supremely disengaged President Obama has been nagged into action on Libya. Over the weekend, US and allied forces hit Libya with a barrage of cruise missiles which was followed up by airstrikes directed not only at infrastructure supporting the Libyan air force but also against the Libyan army
What has been more notable than what has happened is what hasn’t happened. We still have no idea of the goals or objectives of this exercise. Are we trying to topple the odious Muammar Qaddafi? Are we trying to establish a “free state of Benghazi” where his opponents, the self described mujahideen, can rule? Are we trying to moderate his use of force as he exercises the legitimate right of any sovereign to put down an armed insurrection? Are we leading this coalition? Or is Nicholas Sarkozy? Who decides when enough is enough? When, if ever, is the administration going to ask for Congressional approval to carry out this operation?
Not only do we, the American people, not know these answers it is more than a little unclear that the administration itself knows the answers or is even of one mind on the few answers it does have.
We are muddling our way into a conflict which doesn’t rise to the level of caprice and which, contrary to Obama’s pious clucking, will ultimately involve either American or European ground troops. Indeed, it is hard to see how we accomplish anything at all – either overthrowing Qaddafi and handing Libya over to the mujahideen or the protection of a mujahideen enclave — without the insertion of a substantial number of ground forces.
So we are stuck into this mess and now the question becomes how to accomplish something worthwhile rather than turning what little American prestige that remains after two years of this abominable administration into a flaming holocaust on the altar of internationalism and feel-goodism.
Unless the administration produces some answers in very short order it is hard to see how this exercise becomes anything other than an encouraging example to our enemies of the weakness and fecklessness of this administration.